The 2019 Walter Hälg Prize Winner: Kell Mortensen

Kell has been a world leader in the application of small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to soft matter systems, in particular, polymers for three decades. He has contributed numerous fundamental advances to our understanding of the thermodynamics and dynamics of soft materials along with developing innovative in-situ techniques.

Scientifically his work on Polymer I Block copolymer melts was of fundamental importance: Key results include: (i) unraveling the consequences of fluctuation effects in diblock copolymers; (ii) discovery of the Gyroid phase; (iii) demonstration of the role of dynamic shearing in ordered block copolymers using in-situ devices; he was the first to implement a rheometer on a SANS beam line and became more or less synonymous with the use of in situ large amplitude oscillatory shear at SANS that produced numerous spectacular results; (iv) unification of the diblock copolymer phase diagram, where he identified 4 ordered structures that turned out to be universal for diblock copolymer systems; (v) discovery of polymeric bicontinuous microemulsions and (vi) elucidating  the physical solution properties of the Pluronics, an amphiphilic triblock copolymer that on the one hand is an important model system for the understanding of the physics and phase behavior of self-assembling systems and on the other hand has numerous applications as nonionic surface­ active agent in industrial applications, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, and bioprocessing.

Kell has represented the Danish neutron community internationally as the chair of the Danish user organization DANSKK for more than two decades and correspondingly has been the Danish ENSA delegate for almost the same amount of time. Also, as a co-founder of ESS-Scandinavia and chairman of the ESS-Scandinavia Science Committee he has been deeply involved in the long, hard struggle to ensure the building of the European Spallation Source.

* ENSA thanks SwissNeutronics for sponsoring this prize